Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

7/3/2011

Up the mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 5:35 pm

I had heard from the Caltech cycling people that Glendora Mountain Road was going to be closed to cars this weekend. This is a nice treat for us, even though I’m pretty sure that’s not why they were doing it. Most likely, it’s to keep the locals from driving up the mountain and setting it on fire with July 4th fireworks. Still, it’s a nice chance for us to have the road to ourselves.

We rode out to Glendora and headed up the hill. We had to stop briefly to hoist our bikes over the gate, but that was a small price to pay to have the quiet mountain road to ourselves. On the way up the hill, we saw many, many other riders coming down. Apparently, there were a lot of other cyclists who had the same idea today.

It’s been several years since the last time I’ve been up this hill, and I think that I’ve only ridden all the way up the hill once before, because the hill was a lot longer and harder than I’d remembered it being. I suppose that last winter’s rains might have made the mountain grow, but that seems a bit unlikely. It’s also possible that I may have shrunk after turning 50, but that also seems a bit far-fetched. Most likely, it was just faulty memory on my part. In any event, the hill was about twice as long and hard as I’d remembered. This was likely due to the fact that the last two times I’ve been there, we were not able to ride all the way up. Adding to the experience was the fact that it was pretty hot by the time we were heading up there, so all that came together to make it a bit of an experience.

When we got to the top, we stopped and sat in the shade for a bit before heading back down. On the way down, I stopped and had a look at a small memorial for Kevin Unck, who was killed in a cycling accident there last January.

When we got back to the bottom, we went looking for some water. We didn’t find any immediately, but then David spoke to some people we saw leaving their house. He asked if we could use their hose to fill our water bottles, and the agreed. They also told us to have some oranges from the tree in their front yard, and those were easily the best oranges I’ve had in years.

The ride back was pretty uneventful. By then it was very hot, and the trip back became a bit of a Retreat From Moscow, but we made it all right. We stopped for a snack and drinks at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we pushed on for the final seven miles home.

It was a nice ride, even though we were all dragging a bit by the end.

56 miles.
cycling

7/2/2011

Random Saturday morning bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 4:53 pm

This morning I had a couple of free hours to go for a ride. So I did a variation on my I-have-a-couple-of-free-hours bike route. As always, I was on the lookout for anything vaguely amusing.

I saw Pink Moving. And yup, that’s Pink all right.

I added a little bit extra in Arcadia to stretch the route out slightly. In the process, I saw that the topiary swans at the corner of Camino Real and Baldwin won some sort of award.

The sign when I rode into San Gabriel said “Dedicated to George Kennedy”. I looked it up, and this is apparently referring to George H. Kennedy, who owned Kennedy Outdoor Advertising in San Gabriel, and not George Kennedy as seen in such films as “Airport”.

And in several towns, I saw that the fireworks stands are up and in business. They’re sort of like the mayflies of the business world, since they are only allowed to be open for a few days every year.

I rode up the hill to the South Pasadena water tower, and then home by way of the Rose Bowl and Altadena. It was a pleasant ride.

30 miles.
cycling

6/26/2011

Around the Fairplex

Filed under: — stan @ 4:41 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a longer one out to La Verne, making a loop around the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The fair’s coming up this fall, and I need to decide which recipes I’m going to enter this year.

On the way out, we saw a car club on their way somewhere. That was kind of novel. We also saw what looks like a large new ride at the fairgrounds. Aside from that, there was no particular sightseeing in store for today. Just a pleasant ride with not too many hills.

55 miles.
cycling

6/12/2011

Klaatu barada nikto!

Filed under: — stan @ 3:13 pm

Today’s bike ride was an odd one. It was kind of chilly and sort of drizzling at 8:00, and nobody else showed up for the ride. So I went ahead and ride the route myself, and I used the opportunity to test out a new variation. The original destination for the route was Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills to see Lock Martin. He played Gort in the 1951 film, “The Day the Earth Stood Still“. The variation was a test of another route I’ve been thinking about. Last week, the Los Angeles Times had a feature on “The Ten Best Houses in L.A.”. When I was looking at this, I realized that we could go see five of them on a single bike ride. So I thought that today would be a good time to try it out.

The first house was the Gamble House in Pasadena. We ride past it all the time, and we usually don’t pay any attention to it. But it’s really quite nice. From there, I rode the regular route through Eagle Rock to get to Los Feliz. Then I headed up the big hill to the Ennis House. This and the Hollyhock House are two that we’ve visited before on the “Five Wrights” tour. And even though it’s not on the ten-best list, the witch’s house down the street from the Ennis House was also nice.

After stopping off in Barnsdall Park to see the Hollyhock House, I headed across Hollywood. They had Hollywood Blvd closed off at Highland. I guess maybe there’s some awards show tonight.

Heading into West Hollywood, I passed Gardner Elementary School and its Michael Jackson Auditorium. Then I made my way west to Kings Rd and the Schindler House. That was the fourth of the five, and the one farthest away.

From there, I headed back to Hollywood. I took a little detour to go through the staging area for the Gay Pride Parade, since that’s always an amusing time. Then I turned and headed up Nicholls Canyon. About this time, it started raining again. That wasn’t much fun. But I made it to the top and then headed east on Mulholland. At Torreyson Dr, I turned and went up the hill a bit to see the Chemosphere. It’s visible from the street just a little bit beyond its driveway.

Coming down Mulholland, I headed down into Burbank and then turned into Forest Lawn. It took some looking to find the number markers, but I finally located Lock Martin’s grave. This concluded the sightseeing portion of the ride, and it was time to go home. The ride home was pretty routine. By now I was pretty tired and hungry, so I was looking forward to getting home.

When it’s damp like today, my bike computer craps out, so I didn’t get the exact mileage. But putting the route into Google Maps give the total as about 53 miles.
cycling

5/29/2011

Return to the Scene of the Crime

Filed under: — stan @ 8:51 pm

I’d read recently that Michael Jackson’s doctor was being prosecuted in connection with his death, I thought we should take another ride out to visit the scene of the crime. We’d gone there once before. It was a perfect day for riding, and we were in for a lot of it. Since my wheel mishap last week, I’d gotten a new wheel. Since it’s been 3 1/2 years, I thought I’d better change my chain and cassette again, lest I have a repeat of the broken gear incident of 2007. So I took a picture of my clean new drivetrain. It won’t stay that way for long.

We headed out by way of Highland Park, where we got to see Chicken Boy standing next to a billboard advertising a McDonald’s chicken sandwich.

We rode across Hollywood and down the Sunset Strip. The banners told us it was “The Street that Rock Built”. I suppose that’s a fair statement. After that, we crossed into Beverly Hills and rode across to just past the city limits, where the road went back into Los Angeles. That’s where we saw Michael Jackson’s former house. The notes and flowers were gone from the gate, and there was just a realtor’s sign out front.

From there, we headed over to Benedict Canyon, and along the way, I had to stop to admire what I think is one of the greatest mailboxes I’ve ever seen. Then we turned and headed up the canyon. We took a short side trip up Westwanda Dr to see Yvette Vickers’ house. She was in the obituary pages recently with a rather bizarre story, so I wanted to see her house.

At the top of the hill, we regrouped and then headed east to Coldwater Canyon. Mulholland Drive is a pretty nice road to ride on. Then we went down into the Valley and our snack stop at the gelato place in Studio City.

The trip home was pretty straightforward, passing across Glendale and Eagle Rock. It was a very pleasant ride.

56 miles.
cycling

5/22/2011

Another architecture tour

Filed under: — stan @ 5:16 pm

I recently saw an item in the Los Angeles Times about the last remaining Greene and Greene house in L.A. being for sale. So I looked it up and we took a ride out to see it today.

We rode into downtown L.A., and then down through to Adams, near USC. Along the way, we passed the convention center and its sign for the “Everything to do with Sex” show. Then we headed west on Adams. The house itself is in the “Harvard Heights Historic District“. Which is apparently a fancy name for a former high-class neighborhood that’s kind of gone to seed. The house across the street was quite large and ornate, but it had broken windows and just did not look like it was being maintained.

Our stop was at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. Then we started for home. David got a flat, and while he was changing the tube, I checked the true on my back wheel. It was way off, and a closer look showed that one of the spokes had pulled out of the rim. This sort of thing is never a good sign. So I trued the wheel as best I could and we continued on.

After just about another mile, David said his tire was going flat, so we had to stop again. This time, I took a close look at his tire and found a staple stuck in it. Mystery solved.

Going up Benton Way in Silver Lake, I spotted a new topiary. I don’t know if it can be incorporated into one of the existing Topiary Tours that we do, but I will keep it in mind.

In Eagle Rock, my bike started making a weird noise. Turned out the spoke had come loose from the rim and was flapping around. So I stopped and twisted it around the spoke next to it to hold it still for the ride home.

When we got back into Pasadena, we saw a roadblock in Old Town, so we went to see what it was, and we rode into the middle of a Ferrari show.

It was a kind of strange, but very fun ride.

41 miles.
cycling

5/1/2011

The relatively flat ride to nowhere in particular

Filed under: — stan @ 1:44 pm

I didn’t have any particular destination in mind for this Sunday’s bike ride, so it seemed like a good time to do the Relatively Flat Ride. This is the route I made up that tries to avoid as many hills as possible.

It was a nice day, and overall, it was a pleasant ride. The only blot on the day was provided by the driver of a white Nissan Frontier truck, license number 7N63399, who was acting like an asshole. But he stopped doing it and took off when he noticed I was taking pictures of him. Such is life on the road.

Aside from the aforementioned asshole, it was a very pleasant ride.

42 miles.
cycling

4/24/2011

A shortened Sunday ride

Filed under: — stan @ 9:17 pm

Today’s ride was supposed to be a slightly shorter ride than usual, since I had to be back early to cook a big Easter dinner for family. But it turned out to be even shorter than that. We got rained out again.

We rode up through La Cañada and then down the big hill into Glendale. That was all just fine. But then it started to rain. Just a light sprinkle at first, but then it started raining in earnest. So we turned tail and rode to the Metro Rail station at Southwest Museum. From there, we were able to ride the train back to Pasadena. It wasn’t raining quite as hard as the last time we got rained out, but it was still enough that riding in it was No Fun At All.

In the end, we got home without getting too wet. But it was wet enough that my bike computer stopped working. So I don’t know exactly how far we actually rode.

20-mumble miles.
cycling

4/17/2011

In-N-Out purge

Filed under: — stan @ 8:44 pm

There was an article in Saturday’s L.A. Times about how In-N-Out Burger had recently demolished what was formerly their oldest location, across the freeway from their headquarters in Baldwin Park. So I immediately thought that this would make a good sightseeing bike ride. The article also mentioned that now the oldest In-N-Out location is now the one right near here in Pasadena, so I included that in the route.

It was a perfect day for riding. We started out going past the In-N-Out on Foothill Blvd in Pasadena. Then we headed south all the way to Baldwin Park, where we saw the remains of the former burger stand, followed by the gleaming new headquarters building across the freeway.

Our stop was at Panera Bread in West Covina. The sun was out, and it was just a nice day to sit outside for a bit.

46 miles.
cycling

4/10/2011

CicLAvia two

Filed under: — stan @ 1:11 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a route down into East L.A. to join in CicLAvia. This is the second time they’ve done this. We were there the last time, and it was a fun little outing.

We took a roundabout route to East L.A., so as not to get there too early. Even so, we were there by 9:30, so we just set out on the route across the city.

In Little Tokyo, there was a big crowd outside the Japanese American Museum. Lance Armstrong was there, and he spoke to the crowd for a few minutes.

Continuing on, we went out to Westlake and then up into east Hollywood. That was the end of the route, so we turned around and rode back into downtown. At Main St, we turned off to head for home. We stopped for a bagel at Union Bagel in Union Station, since they have the nice courtyard outside the station. It had turned into a very nice day, so we wanted to sit outside.

From there, we just headed straight up Huntington Drive for the trip home. It was a nice ride.

47 miles.
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